It’s April Again

Today I smoked a joint and walked around the Gulou area, and thought about many things. People everywhere, great clumps of pollen swirling in a funnel right above my head. Bright sunlight through the little olive leaves onto my face. I thought of my old professor, Moses. He lives in Beijing and so far has […]

Flashlights in the Dark

I have to admit, I haven’t read a single story about foreign journalists with China visa problems. I found them all to smack of the same droll, insular, looping urgency of first world problems. If all of the reporters were white, I would just say “privilege” and dip my face back into the Stream and […]

Book Review: Hawkins, Sagan, Zinn and Thompson

I have been tearing through books recently, due to my snazzy iPad Mini. I did a review a couple weeks ago, and I like that type of post, so here goes another one, this time 4 (5?) books and not three. I will review the first three here, and then do the last two – […]

Book Reviews: Hitler, Stalin, Assange and Wall Street

I tend to read at random, just grabbing whatever is lying around and swallowing it whole, believing sincerely in the Tao of Reading: the Way will lead the books I should be reading to within arms reach. In keeping with this belief – which came first the belief or the book? – I have had […]

Sticky Post: About this Blog

I’ve kept this blog since 2008 and it was and still is a source of great catharsis for me. It is not a CV and should never be misconstrued as such. The things I write in here reflect my opinions only, and not those of anyone who employs me, hangs out with me, saw me […]

Caixin is awesome, but the sun is still gonna blow up someday

This article here, Urban Platforms in a Policy Pressure Cooker, is just one example of Caixin Online’s excellent reporting on China’s political and economic landscape. The high-quality English is also extraordinary, as most Chinese media almost never nail the news voice that, for better or for worse, dominates the international media’s idea of what is credible […]

Nothing to See Here

Nobody at my office, in the city’s government building, seems to care much about what happened to the deputy sec. of the whole Province last week. Everyone just at their computers, doing their thing. Noon rolls around and everyone heads downstairs for lunch at the cafeteria. Outside on the street a protest at the gates […]

Same Work, Same Pay

About 200 pensioners are camped outside of the Chengdu municipal government office building to protest imbalances in benefits offered to private and public sector employees. They represent around 50 state-owned hospitals, clinics, and community health care centers and, from the looks of it, they aren’t going anywhere until the imbalances are addressed. “People from the […]

Was the Wen Jiabao Story a Leak?

The NYT story on the Wen Family finances that came out in October, Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader, is lauded by mainstream media figures as a journalistic coup and an example of gumshoe investigative journalism. But a small minority of media outlets, led by erstwhile Western media darlings Boxun and Mingjing, counter that […]

An Excellent Argument for Re-election

“Obama succeeded George W. Bush, a two-term President whose misbegotten legacy, measured in the money it squandered and the misery it inflicted, has become only more evident with time. Bush left behind an America in dire condition and with a degraded reputation. On Inauguration Day, the United States was in a downward financial spiral brought […]

Resist the Worst

“When you think about the worst that could happen, you should resist this temptation to make yourself the centre of the world. Turn away from the injustice of being falsely condemned or the despair of being utterly alone. Quash the thought of losing a child. On this melancholy subject, at least, I am with Smith […]

Gibbering again

My vision of myself rarely coincides with the vision others have of me. When people think highly of me, I hear the sniveling thief gibber inside; when people think low of me, I feel the warrior stir. But not just in reaction to what others think. It’s almost as if praise comes exactly then, when […]

These are my last words

the things I’ve seen in life will make you gasp in surprise like a pod of dolphins dancing in the ocean at sunrise preventing my demise a healing salve for my eyes regenerate on a daily basis refusing to die i put my nose to the wind and smell a burning red robe charred and hanging in […]

Chen Guang Cheng in Limbo …

Chen Guang Cheng’s great escape from house arrest, oppression and beatings has taken an awkward twist, with the activist in the custody of the Chinese government and the US administration feeling the heat from human rights activists across the world.   The Twitter-verse turned from joyous to shocked to depressed as word came through from […]

On the run in China: Chen Guangcheng escapes!

Chen Guangcheng is an activist in China’s northern Shandong Province. He is blind and lives in the tiny rural village of Dongshigu, where he fought for the rights of peasants and especially women who faced forced sterilization and other abuses. He was imprisoned more than 4 years for his efforts and then placed under house […]

The sins of the father …

I was struck today by John Garnaut’s profile of General Liu Yuan, embedded in an investigation into PLA corruption. What moved me and stopped me in my tracks, and made me come back here to write this, is the revelation that Liu Yuan is the “last surviving male descendant of Liu Shaoqi”. I know little […]

China watchers are high

Whenever I open Twitter to see what the people are saying, I end up feeling like the kid who showed up late to the meth smoking session and didn’t bring his own stash. Everyone is already knee deep in a conversation or three and most of the time it’s the act of yapping that is […]

The Empire Strikes Back

China-based hacks into commercial and political networks across the planet have made the news again, with the Trend Micro report on an attack called LuckyCat that targeted Asian defense systems as well as Tibetan networks. The attack was traced back to a graduate of Chengdu’s Sichuan University, Gu Kaiyuan. Gu currently works for Tencent and […]

A True Belief

Tom from Seeing Red in China pointed out some China Quarterly essays and one of them is the inspiration for this essay … Few of China’s problems seem so intractable as the issue of the Chinese soul and what morals are available to guide it in the 21st century. The whole concept of a soul […]

China-US Cold War and what we can do about it

Can it be denied that the US is actively engaging China’s border nations in an attempt to contain and control China? It seems pretty clear to most observers that such was the case years ago – Kissinger commented on the idea of containment back in 2005 – but with the recent moves in Myanmar and […]

Yining in Xinjiang Province bans beards and burkas

The Yining Government just released a plan of action that targets beard and burka-wearers across the municipality. The plan calls for a house-to-house search for any bearded men or women wearing non-revealing clothing and then ordering them to shave and strip. Disobedience will be met with prison terms. The new plan comes on the heels […]

Ode to Third Ring Road

You can catch me on the Third Ring Road, zipping down the sideline on my Bad. Moduh. Scooduh. I’m on there enough to have found myself a little community, people who all come from different backgrounds but share one thing in common every time they slip onto the Third Ring from some obscure exit choked […]

Blinded by the Web

I’m going to switch gears and talk about my own country for a second here. Hitting out at China is actually too easy. There are a bunch of problems in the country and, for the most part, the propaganda and methods of the state are so crude that ridiculing them is like shooting the proverbial […]

Excerpts from an Interview with Luo Fahui

This is a companion piece to ChengduLiving’s Portrait of a Chengdu Artist: Luo Fa Hui. Here I put together some excerpts from an interview back in October. Stay tuned next week for more Chengdu artist love, both here and at On China’s Future: -有希望。中国朝着良性方向发展,不是以前那样封闭。现在我们很多人,都有机会和权贵坐在一起。这是大趋势,不是一个政党可以控制的,所以这个是个很大的希望。现在慢慢的改变,慢慢开始尊重人权,尊重人的思想,自由度,精神上的,越来越宽。首先是看着这30年的变化,亲身体会,当年是怎么样,现在是怎么样,随便怎么比。 There’s hope. China’s is moving forward in a good direction, […]

Agents of Conformity

Today I read Murong Xuecun’s speech given in Oslo. The things he described in his speech are clearly happening all around us and I have rarely, if ever, met a Chinese who will dispute much of what he said. In fact, most of the conversations that end up dealing with the woes of China are […]

Ai Wei Wei, prepare for martyrdom

It’s hard to watch a good man go down, but that is exactly what I find myself doing everyday now since Ai Wei Wei’s battle with the Chinese government took over the front pages of a lot of the mainstream media and China related blogs. He is a heroic figure and, for Westerners, his return […]

There might still be blood ….

I am deeply ashamed that I linked that NYT article. If you read it (Hi Mom!) then you noticed how the voice was decidedly not in favor of the protestors and focused more on the restoration of order. It wasn’t the piece itself that made me link, but the news that it carried with it: […]

There will be blood

There are basically two camps in the world “battling it out” while the rest of the masses shift and moan and watch it all go down. I use quotation marks because there is often no battle at all. In the Arab countries, there is. In the West, there is not. Two possible representations for the […]

The Future is now

While avoiding the drudge work at Ctrip, I stumbled across the theory of neoteny in evolution. Neoteny is when infant features appear in adults ie when we evolve “backward” such that we display childlike characteristics, presumably mentally as well as physically. Paradoxically, moving backward is going forward: evolution in primates is a steady procession back […]

A question of existence

I came across some interesting thoughts the least couple of days. Although I don’t write about current affairs nearly as much as I used to, i still rant about stuff during my lunch break or late at night to bean, who listens politely. I’ve explained a few times already why i don’t write about US […]

Scattered Fam

So we’re on the eternal search for “the Spot” that will allow me to sip tea and write best sellers while bean makes big big money and the lil ones scamper. Possible locations are (were) 1) Pacific Northwest, specifically Portland and Northern Cali, but also and not limited to Canada or northern Washington. 2) Dali […]

Giving notice

I worry about my writing a lot. Its the only thing i can claim as my own and its probably my only legit ticket out of the rat race. My only honorable ticket i guess, cuz if something else got me free of the race and in the cottage by the sea, I would die […]

Poo issues

All last night i pooped out water and wandered between dream states with these lines from J-Dilla’s Jungle Love going through my head over and over ” … i won’t take it like Shaq from three … with out that loot ya instrumentals stay instrumentals” But now daddy has the house to himself, the AC […]

Recent news and other tidbits

Once again, i have neglected my own personal blog in favor of other “cooler” spots that either pay me or raise my exposure level up a micron. Unfortunate, but a lot of it has to do with fatigue and time. With two sons (pic post coming up later, don’t worry) a brother truly has no […]

Another Son

Two boys now, depending on me to show them the way. For at least half their lives willingly and then for another 1/4 or so even though they resent it (at least that’s the pattern right?) and then later in life as a friend. This time I was able to witness the birth first hand. […]

Fast, Cheap or Good: You can only have Two

Rumor has it that Tom Waits once said this to Jim Jarmusch over whiskey and pop tarts, but it could have been Ben Franklin. I find it to be a pretty decent appraisal of what is possible in today’s world. In the US, I believe people chose “fast and good” whereas in China people chose […]

Why I came to China …

I walked into the Minneapolis Institute of Arts one day way back in 1998 and saw this massive hunk of jade. It had been commissioned by Emperor Qianlong himself to be carved according to the ancient 4th century poem, “Prelude to the Orchid Pavilion,” by Wang Xi Zhi, one of China’s greatest calligraphers. As soon […]

I should be armchair travelin’

but i’m surfin instead. The other day my man Charlie got the China Blues, you know, when it dawns on you that all of the things that you heard about China as a kid actually don’t exist anymore and have been replaced by “ignorant drones on autopilot” … happens to all of us here. I […]


Man everywhere i look the oppression is just getting deeper and deeper — at least when I peep the news. there is China doing all it can to keep dissidents either silent or dead or scared out of their wits there is Iran, hailing revolutions one day, torturing them the next there is Libya and […]

Horse & Tea Trade Route

I’ve been up and down this road and written a few things about it — the road that links India and Southeast Asia with southwest China and Tibet. Here are links to the stories I have written and also a lil slideshow to boot: Yunnan, yonis, Sichuan & ponies Shaxi Town The Horse and Tea […]

Visa Issues

I made a very big mistake and assumed that I could re-new Dorian’s visa in Germany. His visa expired while we were in Germany for Christmas (close enough) and my plan was to apply for a tourist visa to China in Germany and then re-apply for a relative visa once we got back to China. […]

The Beijing Consensus

Let’s take a look at the countries that refused to attend the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony: Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Venezuela, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Sri Lanka and the Palestinian Authority A collection of enlightened governments, no doubt about it. Standouts include Afghanistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The […]

The Assassination of Julian Assange

I want a show of hands: How many people have kept doing it after the condom broke? How many people out there believe that Julian Assange raped or otherwise sexually assaulted the two women in Sweden who came forward to accuse him? The mainstream media (The Guardian, Der Spiegel and especially the New York Times) […]

Holy Shit I miss Sichuan

Man I found myself teary eyed listening to the Ya Jian Bang sing about Sichuan food. I was thinking about what it would feel like kicking it with my peoples out there around a cheap ass table covered in steaming spicy ass delicious heart warming lip smacking eye glazing down home sichuan style dishes lord […]

Horses and Tea and all manner of Roads

I’ve been up and down the “horse and tea trade route” a few times. basically the road from Chengdu south to Bangkok, as far as I am concerned. It extends west all the way to Lhasa and beyond and north to Xi’an, but basically the middle half (Yunnan and Sichuan) is where a lot of […]

China Travel Articles

I have been working for for a couple months now and I am beginning to develop a sense of loyalty to the place. I began working here primarily because I felt I needed a stable income to take care of my stinky-ass son and his mama. Of course I could have kept going the […]

Mixed Blood Prince

I wrote another small essay about raising children in China, specifically about mixed-blood babies and how they are treated here and what they can expect. Chinese grandmas swarm over any cute baby they see, but they tend to ignore Chinese babies in favor of mixed blood or all-foreign babies. There is a love and curiosity […]

Time-Lapse Video in China

Here is a post for about a group of (actually an individual named Joe) filmmakers who are doing some interesting work with time-lapse and tilt-shift video- and photography. The same guys who are in doing the time-lapse stuff are also doing the “Sole Man Project,” in which an Englishman spends one year shoeless in […]

Anti-Japan Protests Rock Chengdu

The conflict between the Chinese and Japanese is getting heated. First Chinese “fishing boats” enter “disputed territory” and snoop around.. Japan sends in destroyers to see what’s going on; the Chinese boats allegedly ram the destroyers. Japan arrests everyone then releases the crew while holding onto the captain for a week. China goes apeshit. Screams, […]

New ish has come to Light

If you have not noticed, I have a few Fiction tales up. I won’t be posting a bunch of tales there, just a couple to whet peoples’ appetites. The latest one is called, “The Imam who Sang” and I like it. Check it out. I also just recently updated Nonfiction to reflect some work i […]

Can’t Truss It ..

No No No No! I try not to get sucked into these discussions anymore, but part of my daily routine is to open sites like and and others and when I read certain passages I just can’t help my emotional response. Last week, during the peak of the Sino-Japanese pissing contest over rocks […]

Class Lines Apparent

I went on a little Man on the Street interview stroll yesterday, asking people what they had planned for the October Holiday. I pretty much knew what I would hear from the garbage collectors and the coffee jerks and how it would differ from people throwing trash and sipping lattes, but I didn’t expect 90% […]

New Gig

Hi Everybody, welcome to my new site. Its a little stark compared to my fluffy old Chachin Aint Easy, but hey. things change don’t they. So after a long hiatus, i just want to let you know a little bit about what is going here. I moved to Shanghai in August to take a job […]

My man Fu Qiang

Has just opened up a shop selling his CDs (compilations of music he digs) and art. He takes pictures and uses software to make his own impressions. pretty interesting stuff. You can check his site out right here. Here is a picture of Fu that he manipulated into an oil painting-type image: Here is a […]

The Ancients said:

“And I wish that I were not any partof the fifth generationof men, but had died before it cameor had been born afterward.For here now is the age of iron …when guest is no longer one with hostnor companion to companionwhen your brother is no longer your friendas he was in the old days.”

“Don’t be Evil” — Tell that to Wall Street

After Google announced that it might leave China, Wall Street and other stock exchanges around the world reacted in typical fashion, by buying Baidu stock and selling Google stock. Baidu’s stock jumped by at least 12%, while Google’s slid by about 1%. For the money-men — the same people, let us not forget, who caused […]

Thinking about my brothers

The army drums cut off human travel,A lone goose sounds on the borderland in autumn.Tonight we start the season of White Dew,The moon is just as bright as in my homeland.My brothers are spread all throughout the land,No home to ask if they are living or dead.The letters we send always go astray,And still the […]

Google unlocks the vault!!!!

Everything the Chinese government has blocked is now available via Google, including pictures of Tiananmen, articles on Free Tibet and the Dalai Lama and everything else. According to Google’s own stats, the most searched for terms in the past 24 hours were Tiananmen and the Chinese for it 天安门 And this picture here says it […]

The American Dream and the Written Word

So I am reading Daniel Boorstin, The Seekers, which is the third in a series that begins with The Creators and continues with The Discoverers. Boorstin is one of my favorite historians. So in Seekers, Boorstin explores the philosophers and “idea-men” that helped to establish the foundations for Western political and social systems. What I […]

Good Morning

Whatchyallknowbout Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings? Just finished Natural Born Lover and moving on to Stranded in yo’ Love And this album makes me jig my way around this living room in my chupa, wrapped up and ready for this cup of coffee i got infused with anti-viral honey from Andrea Shanti’s store, check […]

Free to Post

I wrote an essay a while back about censorship in China, for, and I basically said that within the parameters of black and white, all life transpires. Well i am now, thanks to Freedur, safely within the gray. Freedur is a VPN protocol that allows me to surf through a proxy and avoid sneaky, […]

They roundin up Hobos!

Bout to watch the Return of the King. Again. And the only reason I want to do it now is to get the full account of Gandalf the White’s battle with the Balrog. I feel quite comfortable with my fractal personality that involves serious nerdocity, hobo tendencies, sleazy charm, demagoguery and half-ass intellectualism. Add a […]

i got brothers

i have been many things in my life, some good, some bad and some ugly. i have seen my brothers be those as well. what i have learned is that only through the fire can the secrets of these ancient bonds be learned and earned. i also believe that time heals all and everything works […]


Headed back Here And just to make it even more lovely, i read more about Chinese products ONCE AGAIN making consumers sick and otherwise doing everything they should not be doing. My lady wants to stay just one year or so, because in 2011 a chemical plant will be built just a an hour or […]

My Rainy Poem

Zhang Yushi — Yu means rain, Shi mean poem or poetry or poet … depending. i met her for the first time back in the days when i was a real rake and rastabout. tenzin my man and i were playing chess in the ole cafe in Fanghua Gai in Yulin. I remember two giggling […]

Well well well

What Providence, What Divine Intelligence … so i am leaving the Wagon today and headed to a different brighter spot up the road a bit. I am looking forward to it very much and i believe its the best way to get my thing going before i head to China and begin life as a […]

My Oasis

A brown hen named Gary gives a flapping sqawk and makes a dash for the cherry tree in my backyard. Her two speckled girlfriends shoot their heads up and cock suspicious eyes, until they see Gary begin painting her beak black with cherry juice. They jump and run, coming to a calm hesitant stop near […]


The past two nights i have been drinking Yellow Tail Shiraz with my old high school buddy Maximillian. He was one of my first and best friends back when i was 16 and getting my bearings in Germany. I had a friend walk with me in a dream last night, a walk i can barely […]

off work early

i am better in group situations, then one on one cuz in one on one I am too eager to revealI like to pass around planets and laugh at jokesor drift away or just sit there and smilei remember a show about a moment taken randomlyand how it could in a moment be divineany second […]

Violence in Xinjiang

Uighers in Urumqi rioted over the past 24 hours, destroying property, killing people and fighting the police. The immediate cause for the riots was a brawl in Shaoguan, Canton Province that began after some fool posted a note on QQ saying that 6 Uigher boys had raped 2 Han women. Han workers then rampaged through […]

Politics and asteroids

Yesterday i was talking with a geology student and she said her last big paper was about an asteroid that is scheduled to hit the earth in 2012. I was like, girl, you sure you haven’t been youtubing or something? and she said the information is only really available in universities and on lexisnexis and […]

Two books that I urge you to read:

The first deals with IslamNo god but God, the origins, evolution and future of Islam This book (FINALLY) traces the roots of Islam back to the socialist hippy rebel Muhammad and his community of passionate young revolutionaries. All prophets are socialist rebels … have you noticed? and their message eventually falls prey to the wealthy, […]

Mengding Mountain Tea

I took a trip last month while i was in china to my main homegirl’s tea spot. here are some pics: From Left to Right: Guan Da Ge, Xiao Bai, Chen Shui Yuan and Chen’s employees. Xiao Bai run’s the plant, Chen is my logistics, tea ware and oolong guy and Guan is my right […]

The Du

MM-MM something about the Du makes me feel all homey. its easy as pie out here. the sky looks like dishwater and i aint seen the sun yet but instead i got down on some Pickled Pepper Beef and some of the tastiest gong pao chick en this fool has ever scarfed down. Got with […]

Chinese girls are silly

My man told me earlier i the week that he would never marry a Chinese girl, even though he has been here for several years and chases them down like the bunnies they are. I remember thinking the same thing for a while, but it only hit home when .. i went home (or Portland). […]


I miss the quiet of my dungeon and the wind through Oregon’s trees. Its sunny here and i am about to be in the Du with all my friends again and its gonna be hard to leave. I am trying to stay for one month but i can feel the pull of oblivion on the […]

Back in China

Shanghai is a sea of skyscrapers as far as my eye can see. There are pockets of two-story blocks of old school homes with laundry hanging from lines strung between houses. The glow of the sun is like that of a streetlamp through fog. When i see the orange orb in the sky it looks […]

Vision of a Man

I wish i had a better keyboard cuz there is something i need to work out and for me keyboards are … key. I notice a lot of bad ass women out there. women who have been in the trenches of love in their twenties, been hurt, been disregarded, been underestimated. In response, i find […]

the Cali sun

is hard to locate not because the clouds are there, but because they’re absent. I haven’t seen a sky like this one in I don’t even know when. Ate a power breakfast of Inca berries, Goji berries, chicken broth infused brown rice, pineapples and bananas and a huge dollop of yogurt. Did Big Scott’s pushup […]

I know why women trip

Motherhood. Its motherhood ya’ll. Before being a mother, girls trip on the intense biological forces that take over all thought and emotion and drive girls to be moms, or at the very least create the conditions under which momhood can best be realized (house, man, dog, fence). Fellaz: consider the intense drive we have to […]

Tell it like it is

Losar is underway and the NYT and Atimes marked the Tibetan New Year with stories about the seething people of Tibet, pinned down by the boot of Communist China. Kent Ewing in the Atimes wants to know when the policy will change. He hits on the real deal in Tibet briefly, way down in his […]

I can’t help it

So i watched and listened to President Obama’s speech last night here on NYT and when he mentioned Ty’Sheoma Bethea I got all teary. I just can’t help it. The man was destined to come. So now i got to go and get another degree. Meeting with PSU people Friday morning. I can’t help it. […]

The 72 down 82nd

I got all dressed up for a meeting downtown. walked in the drizzle two blocks to the mini mart and ran across 82nd in front of pick-ups to grab the 72 to the Max. Bus was empty but for me and three mexicans. A white man old and wrapped in sweatpants and O of U […]

me and my cat gimpy

Gimpy got his first taste of pussy last week. I can imagine the look on his face, that shocked yet determined screwed up expression. A dash of confusion. Thats Chou Gui on the bed takin it all in … Its been an eventful week. I met with a lot of people here involved in international […]

my achin back

So i have to admit. Last night i put 15 pages down, but when i was done i logged in to World of Warcraft and played till 730am. then i had breakfast and walked around. then slept and didn’t get up till 3pm. its bad ya’ll. i dreamt of humans attacking as Horde characters in […]

its on

Yesterday was MLK’s birthday. me and nicole and ashley and deb marched from Sister’s of the Road to St. Mary’s Academy with a few hundred people, then went home to listen to KBOO. I passed out and in my dreams i heard MLK’s speech we will overcome, which was playing on the radio at the […]

China’s Charter 08

“China, as a major nation of the world, as one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and as a member of the UN Council on Human Rights, should be contributing to peace for humankind and progress toward human rights. Unfortunately, we stand today as the only country among the major nations […]

The Bailout …

YO: Read this Wikipedia entry about the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act” then go here and read through this article about where the cheddar is going … then get pissed. then sign this. (and wonder if being the 40th person to do so without doing the math makes you an idiot or a hero.) and then […]

to my Chinese peoples

I just had a dream of China in 2028 and it was a beautiful vision. I thought of a metaphor: an old man who has shed his skin, thrown away his cane and run a marathon. I felt the pain of shedding skin, the anxiety of throwing away the cane, the suffering of running mile […]

Broke Fat White People

Last night I was minding my own business at my man Q’s house in the Pearl District when I get drunk-dialed by Sammy’s ass. He came to pick me up in the broken down Daewoo that he be driving these days, half in the bag, and demanded I take him to several seedy, dark, smelly […]

Irvine, CA

I had a very fine Thanksgiving Holiday with my family in SoCal (southern California) and it is about to end in a few hours. I am headed back to Portland this morning with a small band of adventurers and we all can’t wait to hit up the hot springs throw bills at the pretty ladies […]

El Lay

Chillin in El Lay and I must say the women here are so fly and so cute and wearing clothes that i got to get for my hipster women pals up in portland. i saw a blonde girl today fellaz. lord have mercy. and there are more asians than you can gawk at (if you, […]


Julia Zimmermann came to Chengdu and stayed with me for several days chronicling the earthquake there for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung — my favorite German-language newspaper. Here is her finished work, in German. The photos speak for themselves and if you click on the slideshow to your right, you will see more of the same […]

Universal Health Care?

So my wounded brother is home in Minneapolis now and my living room has never smelled better. Love the kid, but when he spends a week on your coach, you will understand the mixture of sadness and relief I feel. He is now dealing with insurance issues and paying for his substantial medical bills. It […]

God Bless America

finally. we have a leader we can be proud of and a country we can believe in. It is now time to get up in the morning and begin executing the plans and promises that we have been hearing over the past two years. John McCain’s speech in defeat is a fine one and it […]

Digital Silk Road

Digital Silk Road From: plus8star, 1 week ago Digital Silk Road View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: japan korea) Presentation done at OpenWebAsia in October 2008 on Asia’s digital innovations and their potential impact on the West. SlideShare Link

I reiterate

its transition time and i am getting my room painted, my workshop set up and my routine established. dreams of off the grid cribs become tangible in the MFNW When the full moon watches the sun set over happy valleymt hood floats like a phantom above the treesa rainbow canopy encases the worldand meets the […]

The Last Debate

I listened to McCain very closely this debate, just as I listened to Sarah Palin very closely during the celebrated VP debate. I did this because I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to know if I like Obama because I identify with a cool black man more than with an ugly […]

Ma Shan acts like a Child!

I heard this a lot when i was in China (and sometimes here as well) and i always wanted to put across my response: Thank You! Over there in China, children and women should never be listened to, according to an old saying attributed to some white-bearded sage. For China to become what it wants […]

What we deserve

I went to watch the Vp debate at Nicole’s friend’s house. A lot of very liberal women were there and we basically laughed a lot at what Palin had to say and especially how she said it … But i had a sick feeling in my stomach as I watched, because I know that a […]

Its all bad; its all good

My landlord Nikki V is doing a piece for KBOO Radio about austerity measures people (may or may not have learned from their parents/grandparents) are using to get by in “this nasty economy.” I listen with mild interest, because so far my economy seems unaffected by Wall Street’s 777+ drop this week after the big […]

Village People in the Twilight Zone

On the night of the Fall Equinox, in the hills of northern California, beneath an ancient oak tree, surrounded by leaves, herbs and Tribe: I slipped into madness. I unlocked an old familiar riddle and chased the smirking moustached man through the mazes Between. I found countless paths through the madness, countless countless paths that […]

Back in the US of A

The first thing i noticed was the sun. i got off the plane, gathered my stuff and waited for Sammy B to roll through and pick me up, its was 6pm. The sun in San Francisco was so bright and so strong i had to hide behind a pillar at first. On the drive back […]

peep this

Yo: I urge you all to check out this video by the Hanyuan B-Boys … they put it down for their town and have all of China writing to them about the merits of breaking amidst the rubble … here is an edited version of what i have been writing here on the Brave New […]

The Aftermath

This will be my last post with Olympic connotations. The Western AND Chinese media are starting to evaluate for themselves what the meaning of this vast spectacle that went down in Beijing really is. I will just lay down a bunch of links and let you get down on it: This article in Time is […]

A Few China Stories

I am in Qingdao now, chillin with my man Li Du and a large group of artists and musicians for the “Twin City Art Show” between Chengdu and Qingdao. I had a great night listening to the guys tell stories and admiring the girls’ style … here are a few stories about China as it […]

The Security Establishment

Now that I have finished my stint in a semi-corporate setting in a security company, i can let you know a little bit about how things work. These companies do business here with the permssion of the Chinese government. This means that they are under the constant supervision of the Public Security Bureau. As such, […]

We Need Your Help

I was thinking about young Chinese this morning. Last night i was chillin with Li Du, Zachary Mexico and Liang Kegang in a KTV establishment. It was a young PSB dude’s birthday and he wanted me to come out and drink with him cuz we have been chillin together during this Holland Heineken House gig. […]

Rage against the dying of the light

or just post some love on yer blog and send it through the underground. i remember telling some young Chinese friends about the Tank Man in Tiananmen and they all laughed at me and said it was a piece of CIA propaganda. I think for everybody who does not live in China, the image of […]

Dirty Spaniards

This didnt even make the rumor rounds in China until today … doesnt seem to bother anyone that much yet … i think people here don’t really know much about the “mom’s japanese, dad’s chinese, look what they did to me” thing. It means something to Asian Americans, as this story on surgery and this […]


Anyone who has written or who reads about China issues has encountered the ChiCom Troll. I didn’t realize there was such a distinct term for these people, i always called them “brainwashed fanatic spittle round the mouth haters” — anyway here is an introduction to trolls that made it into the NYT. Basically, for web […]

busy day

In this small blurb about a photo that made it into a tabloid about the Tiananmen protests in 1989, we see another example of the many people these days who don’t know about what happened and frankly don’t care, yet face the consequences for their ignorance. I wrote before about a couple of copy editors […]

Friedmann has found his issue

He is just hammering away, hammering away at the alternative, renewable energy grid that would bring the US out of its doldrums. No mercy. I remember being annoyed with good ol TF for some of his views on globalization and war in the middle east, but he’s got this one nailed. his issue is important […]

Picture me Laughing

china gives peeps designated “arrest me” zones to do their thing. “Chinese people know better than to go demonstrate in a {issue} zone during the Olympics, except maybe a few people with nothing to lose,” he said. “They know the risk of retribution is very high.” He added: “It is not a step toward allowing […]

Aint Nothing Changed

Things is hectic in this piece … for real. after the K’ming bombings the government made a few changes to security that are putting a crimp in everyone’s style. In the Metro lines the only security they have are cadres of fussy old women — the same people who yell at bicycles that cross the […]

Bombs in Kunming

Reports came in this morning that at least two bombs destroyed two buses in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province. Although unconfirmed, the word is that suicide bombers boarded the buses and blew themselves up at 7:50 and 8:00am. A possible third and fourth bombing is rumored but unconfirmed. BBC was the first foreign media outlet […]

No Fun Olympics

Check out my no-fun dork shoes: China’s “top-down” approach to security in the Olympics guarantees that there will be very little mirthful exchanges between the people (in public places at least) and the Games here will be … well … all business. 2am curfew. anti-drunken partying behavior by the coppers. random security checks. jumpy cops […]

We have seen this before, and its always sinister

In today’s NYT, the “demise” of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is treated with the soft gloves of supposed objectivity. The article begins by saying that the tumultuous tumble in stock value of the two mortgage giants is inexplicable and at the same time potentially devastating for the US economy and, above all, taxpayers.“There is […]

Sucked in

Every week or so i find a new web tool for this blog. I am trying out the “share me” button, even though I myself have not signed in to any Diggs, Blinks or de-lish-us sites. i am interested to know how many of you actually use and are familiar with these content sharing applications.

Indocrination II

My good friend and patna Fraggle Beanmilk has just been hired by a large daily newspaper here in the Du. They signed ol’ Beanmilk to a three year contract and the training began yesterday. So far, she has learned that Marxist Theory on the media is right in line with the current Party theory and […]

The death of traditions

It is so hot and humid in Chengdu right now that my brain is bathing in its own liquid, humming strange tunes to itself and sending me images of massive artillery guns firing into the distance. Spengler is a columnist for Asia Times who has derided the Europeans for lacking the courage to face the […]

Patterns of Development in China

Francesco Cisci is the Asia editor for La Stampa and a frequent contributor to Asia Times. Here is an essay of his that does a good job of tracing China’s cultural changes and is also invaluable for me in that the patterns he describes course through my story about the Hakka.

Hakka in Sichuan

Hey. I am doing research on the Hakka people in Sichuan. The Hakka are sometimes referred to as the “Jews of China.” They reportedly originated in the Yellow River Valley and migrated south to Fujian and Guangdong to escape wars and famines. They settled in and around the Pearl River for many centuries, retaining their […]

The elephant in my bathroom

how silly we humans be. Sports are and have been one of the ultimate political experiences for societies since the dawn of the ball. A discus tossing match between a Spartan and an Athenian was the grand catharsis of the day. A football match between Turkey and Germany is passionate, bloody and emotional because it […]

perhaps … perhaps …

This here is an interesting article on Obama, if only for the defense of his rejection of public financing. Dowd here says that going after the money is what Kerry failed to do and will keep Obama from being a “chump” like Democrats in years past. I am getting more skeptical, but you never know. […]

Read This

My MAN Rindy dropped it on this piece right here. I urge everybody to read it and pass it around. Send it to Obama’s braintrust. He is already beginning to betray us, everybody: Isreal vs. Iran, public financing, ethanol … not complete sell out yet, but its early yet. Obama needs to know that we […]


For the past week I have been a scab for USAToday. I haven’t actually written anything for them, but just in case the Tangjiashan quake lake bursts, then I should be there to write something up about the ghost towns of Beichuan, Mianyang and Mianzhu and all of the people whose houses and fields have […]

what does it take

Today i rolled through Dujiangyan and took a look at the field hospital set up by the German and Sichuan Red Cross. The field hospital is there to take over from the seven local hospitals that are no closed due to damage from the quake. They take on all of the patients that are not […]


today … bout three minutes ago, a large aftershock shook chengdu. the largest in a long time, maybe since the original quake. and it lasted for about one minute. here things rattled and my heart raced, but nothing damaging happened. but if it was this heavy here, then up north people died. and who knows […]

Luo Shui

We went to Luo Shui today, about 20 of us in several cars and trucks loaded with toys, paints, candy and other goodies for the surviving schoolchildren of Luo Shui town. We went to four different schools and each school had lost kids during the quake. The kids loved and we had a blast. My […]

It aint funny

I can’t comment back because blogger is blocked in China … it isn’t funny, what happened to Falun Gong followers in China. The brainwashing campaign in China, which i posted on before, is extremely successful. The kids here know nothing of the torture and persecution. When falun gong is mentioned in China, people invariably laugh, […]

Kids Day

Tomorrow is kids day in China so a group of us are headed north to Shifang to play drums and be funny guys for the kids in the refugee camps. I already have a song called “Stank Feet” all thought out. Today I read a notice issued by the police to the citizens of Shifang, […]

my people

I was brought into a new community recently, Matador Travel Community and i must say i really dig it. i usually hate forums and communities because they demand much and they spring up like mosquitos in the night. Butthis one is filled with people like me so I am down. I put two stories up […]


This is my house — the farm. About 10km southeast of Chengdu in Three Gods Flower Village, where farmers grow roses and tulips and offer up their homes as teahouses for the semi-affluent of the city. There are some quiet nooks here off the teahouse path where one can chill. This is Tenz, my half-Tibetan […]

Woe unto the Enemies of the State

Patriotism at the expense of another nation is as wicked as racism at the expense of another race…Let us resolve to be patriots always, nationalists never.– Rev. William Sloane Coffin Today at 2:28pm, the entire Chinese nation stood at attention for three minutes to remember the victims of the Sichuan Earthquake. Today’s edition of the […]

mom i can’t see your hand

A Poem by an anonymous Chinese circling the web(translated): Children quickquickHold fast to Mother’s handThe Road to HeavenIs so darkMom is afraidyou’ll hit your headQuickHold fast to Mother’s handHave Mom walk with you momI’m afraidThe road to heaven is so darkI cant see your handSince the walls felland stole away the sunI haven’t been able […]

Around Qing Cheng …

Yesterday i climbed as far as it is possible to climb right and Qing Cheng mtn is def. devastated near the top. Past the Tai An Old town basically every building lies in ruins. There are a few valleys which will take months to clear. Boulders and huge chunks of mountain clog the roads at […]

To Mianyang

Tomorrow we will try and head up to see if we can help. THe local authorities and Red Cross have designated the Bookworm and Cafe Paname as two foreign est. where supplies can be dropped off and from which teams might be able to head up and help. Earlier today, a group of Brits trapped […]

We felt it comin …

My friend Rachel wrote the day before the quake: “I feel like the world is shifting” if ya’ll check the first few lines of my post “The Illusion of Coincidence” you’ll see that there was something in the air … just to embellish a bit: yesterday was Buddha’s birthday. The plates that caused this earthquake […]

earthquake hits the DU!

i was in the middle of a shave when an earthquake hit and the whole neighborhood spilled out onto the street. here is a pic of my mug. i will have more pics up soon i hope. i learned that standing in the doorway is a decent way to “survive” earthquakes … the buildings are […]

love atcha

here are some pics of my kitties. there are three surviving kitties and the two sisters take turns licking and caressing the lil kitty-cats. i believe the white one is the mom. I have already thought up a fairy tale based on Auntie Lickems, Mommy and the three adventurous furballs. I cannot comment back or […]

The Illusion of Coincidence…

A great many strange things have happened in the past few days … perhaps not as many as may be transmitted by the feeling that accompanies one or two strange happenings, but nonetheless … something is happening. I was sitting with my friend Himmler one evening. His woman Jodie and roommate Wu Tong were in […]

The Word

I have tried to emphasize the need for us to turn back to home and see what we can do there instead of sticking our under-educated noses into everyone else’s business. This column here by Thomas Friedman lays down what we already feel.

On Brainwashing

In China, indoctrination of the youth begins very early. At age 6, young kids are given their first Chinese Reader to learn the vast collection of characters, poems and proverbs that make up the Chinese language. The book begins with a small rhyme about flowers and their need for the sunshine, then goes into the […]

HK Torch Relay

here is a column i wrote for that will not get published: On Friday the torch arrives in Hong Kong. Demonstrators from around the world are arriving ahead of time to take advantage of this opportunity: after Hong Kong the flame will be traveling through Mainland China, where security will be extremely tight. This […]

Sleeveless Tendencies

First off … looks like the fervor might be dying down. we shall see. Does anyone else see the parallels between the Games and the Primary? We are down to the last few states and it is getting crucial — for china they are down to the last few cities on the torch relay. But […]

Doublespeak and Bullscat

Politicians truly are amazing. In China it is fitting that the government spokesperson is a woman, Jiang Yu. In Chinese (and every other) society it is an older woman who will do most of the scolding, attacking, reprimanding and declaring in a household. And by older I mean just slightly past menopause, when their daughters […]

Chillin in the Sultan

I convince myself I am Turkish by wolfing down doener kebabs and smoking shisha. I have spent the past few days running every day and working out with my Shifu. He is headed to Shanghai later this week in preparation for the torch relay. He has been hired to do security. here is a good […]

God loves the Funk

I know some of these pics are sideways .. i apologize but there is nothing i can do about it. these kids are worried about girls and pimples and fashion and grades … not tryin to hate on anyone …

Rationalism is Bleak

Today has been another magnificent day in Chengdu. I am sitting in the Bookworm, a fine place to ease back and read/write be smart with myself and I am using my OWN computer. For the past three weeks, I have been using any computer I could because I lost my damn power source while up […]


be they American from Pennsyltucky or Chinese from Hunan, they make life difficult. Because their lives are difficult. Cracker ass crackers. I am working on a Sichuan Guide for Odyssey these days and a collection of essays about Chengdu. Its a smooth way to wrap up this chapter of my life. Sometimes I feel leaving […]


so the inevitable has happened. i was talking with some friends (chinese) aboutthe possibility of a cultural revolution style environment here in china and we all agreed that it would be very possible and even likely. makes me want to go to beijing even more i say … i have seen mobs in china. the […]

Its goin down

it has struck me — and perhaps not only me — how intense things are becoming this year. The race in the US between the two democrats threatens to tire everyone out by the time the real election arrives and the protests in China threaten to cast a pallor over the games months before they […]

Benedict Wang?

Its hard work being a thinker in China. I spoke with a young Chinese friend of mine the other day about the indoctrination of students and the amazement with which the West contemplates pro-government, hysterically patriotic young people. Something we have little or no experience in, since the end of WWII. She said: “It is […]

i’m so slick

not just cuz my insides are covered in hot pot goo, but because twice now i managed to slip through the cracks in the chinese visa system. last august 10th, they raised the prices for american visas almost 100%. i got my visa the 8th. haha. this month, they said no more F visas for […]

Basic Conversation with a Chengdu Cabbie

Oh shit! Wassup Laowai! Where you from? For real? Where you teach at? You aint a teacher? Where you study at? Oh so you a company man. How much you make? Writer?! Yeah right, lying ass. How long you been here? Holy shit! So you like Chengdu? Can you eat spicy food? Hell no. Really: […]

all too short, the distance mist travels …

glimpses of my other worldmemories become feelingsi am caught in mid-thoughtbreathless as they whisperthe feeling is strongestwhen they’ve already floated away like grinning urchins tugging at my sleevelike pitstop pollen on a timeless journeyi wait for them impatientlyand scramble to transcribe their messagesi can only write of the aftermathof childhood impressionsbubbling to the surface again

the sad truth for tibetans and uighers

is that unless China falls apart, freedom will be a dream fulfilled only far from home. we Westerners should consider what exactly drives our support for Tibetan/Uigher/Burmese freedom. The San Francisco authorities did their best to maintain free speech for all while respecting the integrity of the Olympic Flame. This show of strength by a […]

Kun Shan

The western media feels guilty for spearing the Chinese. At least some of them do. After jumping all over the Tibet story from the Tibetan perspective — lambasting Chinese state media along the way — reporters are starting to look for Han Chinese living and working in Lhasa to tell the story from their perspective. […]

what are they thinkin?

I wrote a column a ways back about the “real China” and how the world would get a glimpse of it this summer during the Olympics. We laowai are already getting a taste. Visas are a constant source of anxiety. Not nearly as bad as it is in the US for my homies from India […]

i must say

today was a good day. didn’t even have to yell or scream. no violent threats, no mean muggin. I spent the last three days in my fine little farmhouse ont he outskirts of town and chilled. my Shifu came through unexpectedly as he always does and we got to training. he taught me how to […]

we are all whores

Essence Jackers are the people I deal with on the daily. They jack my essence, corrupt it, as they themselves are unsure of what they are jacking, then they sell it. I am left holding an empty bag. At the same time, i find myself sabotaging lucrative schemes, because the fake nature of most of […]


Let me know if you can see my entire blog and comment on it, cuz i can’t. I have been saving up my energy for this post because I am going to try and describe the inner working of a large state-owned enterprise chartered by the municipal government to promote Chengdu abroad. Even writing this […]


As told by Markus Tong: “I was guiding a group of people through the Tibetan highlands near Lhasa. we stopped at a village and walked around. We met a young boy, who was selling a piece of paper with Buddhist script and paintings on it. He asked for Y20, I got him down to Y14. […]

hong kong feet

as of yesterday, China has adopted US-like security measures for all flights. I had to take my shoes off and they took my bottles of liquid. I tried to crack some jokes to keep their minds off of my stankin ass feet. Supposedly the measures have been implemented nationwide. China is very good at campaigns […]


I am just a few short miles from Aba, where the Tibetans burned down a police station last week. Since that incident it has been mostly quiet. This is a big tourist area and the troubles do not seem to have affected business much. Busloads of Cantonese rumble through daily, honking, yapping and taking funny […]